With Californian and Slovenian roots respectively, Jon and Masa have chosen Antwerp as their home base after a stopover in Berlin. Who knows whether they’ll still be here in five years, but for now they grace our Belgian soil as Klein, the name under which they combine product design with brand strategies and interior design projects, topped off with a little bit of cooking and cocktail shaking. When they’re not working in the woodshed or cooking up a full-blown brunch, these are the bars, restaurants and stores you’re likely to find them in.
Broer Bretel is probably where we hang when we’re not at home. They serve a damn good cup of coffee, and the interior just feels like a cozy living room. Since we visit so often, Toon has become one of our good friends in the city. Just like Kim from Buchbar (Scheldestraat 79 2000), a neat little place in Antwerp South where she sells drinks and a nice selection of books. What we like about these places is that the personality of the owner really shines through. Personal touches and details show that they love what they do, and that’s amazing to see. To fix his sweet tooth, Jon loves a stop at Les Tartes de Francoise (8 Volkstraat 2000). Their tiny little cinnamon rolls are delightful. For a more substantial meal though, we head to Orso (46 Grote Beerstraat 2018) way more than we’d like to admit. But pizza is one of our favorite dishes, and what they have here is just amazing. Plus, having a fixed table at a restaurant is not a bad thing now is it? Bascule opened up only recently – they’re located where Veranda used to be – but has already become a favorite. The hosts are very personable, and they serve decent comfort food paired with excellent natural wines. A few weeks ago, we had a really good experience at The Jane (Paradeplein 1, 2018), and more specifically at their Upper Room Bar. We didn’t go for the menu, but asked for a few less dishes and a few more drinks. The cocktails Paul Morel served were absolutely great and paired perfectly with the food on our plates. From sake to some sort of pine drink: a perfect match. When it comes to shopping, we don’t really get out much. We do make an exception for IMS (78 Stadsfeestzaal, Meir & 17 Melkmartkt 2000). They have a huge selection of magazines and stock some harder to find titles. Also a shop, but in a slightly different branch: WoodTex (680-682 Boomsesteenweg 2610) on the Boomsesteenweg. They have everything when it comes to wood. A must-visit when you’re looking for a bit of pine or plywood! The same goes for Van Uytsel (276 Pierstraat 2550), a true plant-based heaven on Earth, selling a massive amount of plants, pots and flowers. We actually stumbled upon our studio in Antwerp a bit by chance, but we’re so glad we made the decision to set up camp here. The area is quite calm at the moment, but we’re sure things will happen soon enough. Since this place was too big just to host our studio and atelier, we we’re thinking about other things for a while. After a trip to California and a few successful dinners for friends, we decided to launch Klein Kitchen (23 Braziliëstraat 2000). We host private dinners every so often on Friday nights, and serve brunch on lazy Sundays. Even though Belgium is really educated when it comes to food, we saw there was still a hiatus between high-end dining and stale baguettes. We want to bring exquisite, decent, organic food in an accessible way: a chill atmosphere, topped with tasty drinks and fun, intuitive dishes inspired by our time in L.A. and Berlin.